11.18.2004

Our 30-year campaign to maleducate Americans begins to pay off (2)

Via Digby . Undecided voters are interviewed:

"These questions, too, more often than not yielded bewilderment. As far as I could tell, the problem wasn't the word 'issue'; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of what constituted the broad category of the 'political.' The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances. Often, once I would engage undecided voters, they would list concerns, such as the rising cost of health care; but when I would tell them that Kerry had a plan to lower health-care premiums, they would respond in disbelief--not in disbelief that he had a plan, but that the cost of health care was a political issue. It was as if you were telling them that Kerry was promising to extend summer into December.

[...]

In this context, Bush's victory, particularly on the strength of those voters who listed 'values' as their number one issue, makes perfect sense. Kerry ran a campaign that was about politics: He parsed the world into political categories and offered political solutions. Bush did this too, but it wasn't the main thrust of his campaign. Instead, the president ran on broad themes, like 'character' and 'morals.' Everyone feels an immediate and intuitive expertise on morals and values--we all know what's right and wrong. But how can undecided voters evaluate a candidate on issues if they don't even grasp what issues are? "

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